Latvia’s highly distinctive proportional electoral system owes its origins to Latvia’s 1922 Constitution and the new democracy’s electoral legislation of 1919 and 1922. Latvia’s unique feature lies in its preference system, offering the voters the opportunity to judge each candidate on their party’s list. Although the system appears to maximise responsiveness to voters’ preferences, in practice this promise remained unfulfilled and the representative quality of parliament was questionable. This was in large measure because of the capacity of candidates to stand in multiple constituencies. In 2009 amendments to the electoral law altered this key provision. This change clearly made a difference, but it could not resolve fundamental problems of Latvia’s political process in general and its political parties in particular.

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